Collaboration and Sharing Best Practices in RNAi Screening

RNAi Global Initiative Members Assemble in Heidelberg, Germany

Members of the RNAi Global Initiative met in Heidelberg, Germany at the end of May 2014 for their annual global conference. The first two sessions of the conference were open to the public, allowing local researchers the opportunity to hear from experienced RNAi screeners. After warming up with an introductory session, attendees were treated to presentations on siRNA and microRNA whole genome screens, data analysis tools, and findings around long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) targeting and off-targeting by siRNA. Following the public sessions, members presented on a number of topics including:

  • A novel toolset for data analysis, storage and publication
  • Best practices for validating 'hits' and identifying off-target effects in a screening environment
  • Recent findings in screens for HIV infection, breast and prostate cancers, and heart disease
  • For the first time, the member meeting also included a session on the explosive new field of gene editing

As with prior meetings, the quality of the presentations and scientific exchange generated an enthusiastic response from both veteran and first-time attendees. Said one post-doctoral student, "As a first time attendee I was really blown away by RNAi Global; the talks were wonderful, I got to meet so many great people and we even managed to setup a few relationships that hopefully help us to steam ahead with our High Content analysis."

About the RNAi Global Initiative

The RNAi Global Initiative was established in 2005 by Dharmacon RNA Technologies as a unique alliance of leading international biomedical researchers to increase and accelerate the utility of genome-wide siRNA libraries for scientific discovery. Today over 60 institutions across the globe participate as members. Dharmacon, Inc. facilitates member interaction through regular teleconferences, an interactive website, and annual meetings.

The RNAi Global Initiative Mission

Combine the powerful technology of genome-wide RNAi-based screening with international scientific exchange and the collaboration of leading research institutions in order to rapidly accelerate basic biological research and medical discovery.

Past Collaborative Projects of the Initiative

  • A pilot study was conducted in 2005/2006 to evaluate the reproducibility of screens performed in different labs. The ten founding members were provided the same reagents and protocol to perform the screen in their labs and results were compared. In general, screens which passed high quality metrics gave consistent hits. This study gave a reference point for assessing screening data.
  • The pilot study also spawned the development of Minimum Information About an RNAi Experiment (MIARE). These reporting guidelines encourage researchers to provide enough detail about an RNAi screen so data can more easily be evaluated by other researchers and compared to similar data sets.
  • In 2009, the RNAi Global Initiative's Informatics Working Group published a review: Birmingham A, et al. (2009) Statistical methods for analysis of high-throughput RNA interference screens. Nat Methods. Aug;6(8):569-75. PMID: 19644458. In addition to Dharmacon scientists, contributing authors represented six different member institutes.

Learn more about the RNAi Global Initiative